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Posts Tagged » vegetables

AvoPesto

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Feb 14, 2012 raw vegan recipes , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

I tend to be of the opinion that if something isn’t good, avocado can make it better, and if it is good, avocado can take it to unforeseen heights.  When I first heard about avocado pesto, it made perfect sense to me; pesto is damn tasty, and the creaminess, richness, and depth of flavor from avocado could only improve it.  Last night I decided to test that theory…. and improve pesto, avo sure did.

For some reason I often don’t look up recipes when I make new dishes, so that my version is truly my own.  I basically made my standard pesto, switching out some of the lemon juice for lime, and added the fruit right along with the other ingredients.

This is the full batch; total yield is about 2 cups.

Recipe
(All ingredients save for oil can be put in blender together. I say blender rather than processor because I prefer a smoother pesto, and by blending it on low, this is a creamy sauce with a few nice little bits and pieces.)

4 cups fresh basil leaves
5 whole garlic cloves
1/3 cup raw nuts (I used cashews because I had them on hand, but have used pine nuts, walnuts, etc.)
2 medium avocados (I used one small and one large Bacon. You could use one large if Haas, as they are richer.)
juice of two large lemons
juice of one large lime
2 tsp nutritional yeast (you could use raw cheese and it won’t be vegan, or regular parmesan and it won’t be raw or vegan.)
1 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

I drizzle a small amount of oil in at the start to help it begin blending, let it get pretty broken up, then slowly add the remainder of the oil. You can use more or less to taste. I like sharp flavors, so this amount of garlic and citrus may be considered too heavy to some.

For dinner, I served the sauce atop roasted veggies and quinoa, but it is thick enough to use as a dip, and is an interesting offshoot of both guacamole and pesto.






Juice Fast Tips; or, How to Not Go Crazy Not Eating

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Feb 2, 2012 health , , , , , , 2 Comments

Today I passed the miserable, headachy, hungry, bitchy, lightheaded, don’t-even-think-of-trying-to-have-a-rational-conversation-with-me part of my juice fast, and woke up straight on the fast track to a happy day.  Sometimes the early, icky part can take people 3-5 days to go through; mine may have been quicker because I’ve done these things many times before, or because I tend to eat, as previously mentioned, like a SugarNaziHealthFoodFreak.  In terms of detox, my waking life includes many tasks, supplements, and foods consumed regularly both to keep me healthy and to keep my Lyme in remission.  The goal of this cleanse is specifically to get my body to stop being a hormone factory, as I’ve been gaining hormone-specific weight (boobs, thighs, hips) and felt very off for months now, ever since I took a supplement for progesterone prescribed by a naturopath.  From what I’ve researched, the best way to get overproducing hormones out of your body is to clean up your liver.  And the best way to clean up your liver is to let it take time off from dealing with food digestion and give it lots of nutrients.

Anyway, today I got all happy and stopped being starving and thought about how I’ve done this whole juice fasting thing at least three or four times before, and I decided that that pretty much makes me way more of an expert on this than the average person.  So I thought I’d share some of the techniques that get me through the duration of a cleanse.

1. Variety: you NEED variety to stay with a juice fast.  Do not drink the same juice combo daily!  Change up your veggies, change up your spices, so you don’t get bored.  Fresh herbs like parsley and basil are super healthy- and cilantro if you don’t hate it like I do- and their juices are cleansing/detoxifying.  For instance, lots of basil, a couple cloves of garlic, and the juice of a lemon or two added to your green juice = Pesto Juice.  Far more comforting than you may be thinking, right now, trust me.  Also, change up your cups and glasses.  It seems silly and trite, but it helps.

2. Tea: almost a subset of variety, tea is very important because not only will it make you more able to drink all the water you need to be drinking in order to flush the icky stuff that’s leaving your organs out of your system, but also because Tea Has Taste.  It has all kinds of tastes, depending on what kind of tea it is!  It just needs to be herbal or rooibos or gynostemma or any other naturally decaf or made-into-decaf type to be beneficial.

3. Fats: Bodies eventually go into starvation mode when you don’t feed them much, and you want to avoid that.  You also want to keep your liver functioning as well as possible, and livers need oil to do so (something I only learned recently).  I’m taking krill, borage, and evening primose oils daily, and also putting about two tablespoons of coconut oil total in my teas.  This helps with hunger, makes tea taste surprisingly rich, and prevents issues like your hair and skin drying out while you fast.

4. Chew something daily.  Within two days of a juice fast, you’ll start to notice that your teeth don’t feel right.  You might also notice that the saliva in your mouth is a strange viscosity.  This is because mouths were made to chew regularly, and you have upset nature by suddenly halting that practice.  Chew something every day, even if it is just an almond or two.  You should be getting some kind of fiber, so make that chia or flax as thick as you can rather than diluting it in lots of water nightly, and chew the hell out of it.  You’ll thank me later.  I had a terrible time after my first Vita-Mix cleanse, when I ate nothing but pureed veggies and superfoods for 14 days.  My jaw muscles got so out of practice that it took at least a week before I could eat like a normal person.  I don’t recommend gum, partially because I hate gum, and partially because it creates stomach acids in anticipation and the last thing you need to do is give yourself a tummyache.

5. Groceries: avoid the grocery store for at least the first 3-4 days by stocking up on the produce you’ll need to get you through the first days beforehand and getting any other items you or your s.o. will need, THEN begin fasting.  Do not just pop into the store a day or two in and think you’ll be ok.  You won’t.  You will be looking lustfully at a million products you’ve never tried, tried and didn’t like, or, worst yet, really DO care for, and you will want to cry.  During my last three day fast in October, I almost had a breakdown over animal crackers.  Have I eaten animal crackers since I was like 10 years old?  Of course not.  I dealt with this by promising myself that if I still wanted them after my fast, I could come buy them.  I didn’t.  But still, no point in making yourself sad, is there?

6. Free time: take the time you’d normally spend eating (drinking is quick) or cooking (juicing takes time in the morning, then you’re done for the day) and do something for you.  Anything from taking a walk to finishing a project you started ages ago will help you feel less deprived.

7. Scheduling: start on a good day, like a Monday.  That way, either you do a five day fast if you’re looking for a short one and are ready to socialize on the weekend, or if you’re doing a longer one you’re already feeling good and will be less likely to give in to alcohol and food when out.  I’ve gone to bars 10 days in to a juice fast, not drank anything, and still had a good time, because I was feeling so good from the cleanse.

8. Sugar: skip the sugary and starchy veggies, and fruit entirely, at least at first.  Carrots, beets, apples, etc., are all good for you, but their juices spike your blood sugar a lot and you will end up with major crashes.  If you do want to incorporate these foods, wait until a few days in when your body is steadily burning fat for fuel.  If you’re doing a juice fast for weight loss, it’s better to skip them the whole time.  If you’re just doing it for general health and rebooting, beet juice is an excellent blood cleanser and can be added without issue later.

9. Oxygen high: it will kick in, and it will be GREAT!  It may take a couple days, it may take a whole week- just depends on your body and how much bad stuff it’s full of.  The more you’re a bacon and vodka loving donut eater, the longer it’s likely to be, but it will happen.  And when it does, it is really lovely.  You’re taking in scads of raw nutrients that your body can easily assimilate, and it is gonna make you feel awesome.  Pinky swear, it happens every time.






Juicing These Hormones Out of Me, Day One

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Jan 30, 2012 health , , , , , 0 Comments

There are people for whom “good enough” never is.  These people often “can’t leave well enough alone.” They are constantly striving for more perfect perfection, to be better at everything they do, judging themselves against an invisible ideal that only they can see, and they tend to be controlling types who are their own worst critics.  I am very much one of these people.  On the positive side, we usually are inventors, entrepreneurs, and creative thinkers.  On the negative side, we tend to screw ourselves over a lot with our ideals.

Late last summer, after being fully well from Lyme (and gloriously skinny again) for about nine months, I found a naturopath who claimed she could get me off thyroid medication.  Unable to be satisfied with just being thin and healthy again, I jumped at the opportunity to get off the only medication I’ve ever taken long-term.  Lyme- which I cured completely holistically, no antibiotics- damaged a lot of my systems, such as digestive, nervous, and endocrine, and I was left with what was according to my LLMD lifelong hypothyroidism.  The notion of taking medication for life was one I couldn’t bear, and I was on the lookout for anyone who thought thyroids could be rebuilt.  I found a naturopath who dealt in plant stem cell extracts, and two dozen blood tests later, she gave me a litany of stem cell extracts to help me do everything from get off my thyroid med to balance my hormones to strengthen my poor battered liver.

The experience was a disaster.  I followed her protocol to the t, even though Ace warned me against the whole thing and specifically of interfering with my hormones, and went off my thyroid med as instructed a couple weeks into it all.  Within a week of going off the medication, I gained eight pounds.  The naturopath claimed it wasn’t going off my meds, but rather food allergies (which I’ve never had) causing the weight gain.  She also claimed that my suddenly one-cup-size-bigger, painful breasts were not the result of her progesterone-enhancing chaste berry stem cell extract.  Deciding she was a quack, I stopped the entire protocol and demanded a refund.

After going back on my medication, I lost most of the weight in about a week.  However, it soon returned right after we moved across the hall, but specifically in my breasts/hips/thighs.  My arms, face, etc., stayed skinny, and for months now, those parts have continued to grow daily, leaving me constantly battling to get into pants that fit just a few days ago.  My pants size is currently larger than even when I was sick with Lyme, yet I still have major collarbones popping out.  This past weekend I decided to do a vegetable juice fast to help detox the hormones out of my liver.

This is far from my first juice fast, so I’m pretty well-versed in these things.  I do the fast with no sugary produce so my body burns only fat for fuel, and consume a decent amount of oils so I don’t go into starvation mode.  This time I’m using coconut oil in tea, and taking borage oil, krill oil, and evening primose oil.  Every morning in my GreenStar I make at least 32 oz each of two juices, a savory and a sweet, and at night I eat about 1/4 cup of something fibrous like flax or chia.  I’m skipping the flax this time because it’s a phytoestrogen and I don’t want anything that could inhibit the hormone flushing.  My juices include the following, and all ingredients are always organic:

Savory: chard, purple kale, mustard greens, spinach, celery and/or cucumber, beet greens, bell pepper, parsley, lemon, lettuces, and garlic.  I add Himalayan salt after.  If tomatoes are in season, I add those- right now, they aren’t.

Sweet: chard, beet stems, celery and/or cucumber, ginger, mint, and purple kale.  I add stevia after.

At least once during the fast, I take a one day break from those juices and do a liver flush that involves cranberry juice, lemon juice, and spices.  You can read about that here: http://www.annlouise.com/15/diet-detox/52/ I do not cook the juice with the spices then strain it like they suggest, but instead add them in powdered form and drink them in the juice so I am getting as much of them as possible.  When I did it the first time, I did indeed lose three pounds in one day as claimed.  My intent this time is more just to push the stuck hormones out of my liver.

I also have another pretty serious detoxifying practice that I’m not interested in discussing publicly, and this time my cleanse will not be 100% vegan as it has been in the past: to help my liver function, I am swallowing capsule-sized pieces of frozen, raw bison liver.  After learning that the best thing I could do to bring up my liver function was to eat liver, and failing pretty miserably at that via the pate my kind mother made (I haven’t really eaten meat since childhood, and had never consumed liver before), I’ve decided to treat fresh liver as a supplement/vitamin instead.  I purchased a very small slice at a local organic/pastured butcher shop, cut it into itsy-bitsy pieces, and froze them last night.  So far I’ve had one capsule sized piece, and it went down all right.  I’m also continuing all my normal supplements, the list of which would be another blog in itself, as well as consuming non-juice liquids like herbal teas, kombucha (GT Dave’s non-fruit flavors with four grams of sugar), and CocoCeps and Dandy Blend powders in water, sweetened with stevia.

Now all I need to do is wait for that good ole oxygen high to kick in (which usually happens after about 3-4 days), and hope I don’t have to go to the grocery store anytime soon.  I like to not decide beforehand how long I’ll fast for; it’s better for me to just do it until it stops feeling good, which is anywhere from 3-14 days.  My goal this time is a minimum of seven days, and to stop feeling like my body is having a torrid affair with nonstop pms.

It’s almost "black juice," more so than "green juice." I add as many purple ingredients as are available.